Walmart Superstore Threatens Wilderness Battlefield
- Walmart Announces New Orange County Location, Away From the Wilderness Battlefield - 05/23/11
- BREAKING NEWS: National Trust for Historic Preservation Commends Walmart’s Decision to Withdraw Plans for Supercenter at Wilderness Battlefield - 01/26/11
- Wilderness Walmart: Is This the Way We’re Going to Celebrate the 150th Anniversary of the Civil War? - 01/25/11
- Wal-Mart drops store plan near Va. Civil War site (Associated Press)
- Walmart drops plans for store at historic Civil War site (USA Today)
- Wal-Mart abandons plan for store near Civil War battlefield (Washington Post) Wal-Mart Collapses on Civil War Battlefield (Huffington Post)
- Coffin: Walmart And The Wilderness (Vermont Public Radio)
Plans for a Wal-Mart Supercenter within sight of one of the most significant Civil War battle sites in our nation have been submitted for approval in Orange County, Virginia. This 240,000-square-foot store is proposed just one-quarter mile from the main entrance to a national park that honors the sacrifice of the Civil War combatants who fought and died at Wilderness Battlefield in May 1864.
As a part of a growing coalition, the National Trust strongly opposes intensive commercial development at this historic site – located at the intersection of Route 20 and Route 3 – because it would degrade the rural setting of the battlefield, promote commercial sprawl and drastically increase traffic through the heart of the park. In fact, big-box traffic congestion here would dramatically increase pressure to widen Route 20 from two to four lanes – a fatal mistake strongly opposed by preservationists. Additionally, construction of the Wal-Mart Supercenter would likely lead to additional retail development within this corridor, including three additional big-box stores that are already in the works.
- On April 30, 2010, the Orange County Circuit Court in Virginia determined (download the full decision) that a lawsuit filed by the the National Trust along with the Friends of Wilderness Battlefield and local residents could proceed to trial, though the National Trust was found not to have standing to remain as a plaintiff. Learn More »
- On January 21, 2010, the director of the National Park Service, in a letter to the Civil War Preservation Trust and the National Parks Conservation Association, expressed strong support for the National Trust for Historic Preservation's litigation in the Orange County Circuit Court, and described the National Park Service's serious concerns about the impact of the proposed Wal-Mart to the Wilderness Battlefield. Read the Letter »
- On September 23, 2009, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, along with park advocates and local residents, filed a legal challenge to the "Wilderness Wal-Mart" approval. Learn More »
- On July 13, 2009, Virginia's then Governor Tim Kaine and Speaker of the Virginia House of Delegates William Howell wrote to the Orange County Board of Supervisors to strongly encourage the local elected officials to “work closely with Wal-Mart to find an appropriate alternative site” for the proposed Wal-Mart development which should be “situated outside the boundaries of Wilderness Battlefield and out of view from Fredericksburg & Spotsylvania National Military Park.”
- On June 25, 2009, the Orange County Planning Commission voted 5 – 4 to recommend approval of Wal-Mart’s flawed plan to construct 240,000 square feet of big-box development within the boundaries of the Wilderness Battlefield and across the road from the Fredericksburg & Spotsylvania National Military Park. The final decision to approve or reject Wal-Mart will be made by the Orange County Board of Supervisors later this summer.
- Over 5,000 preservationists signed our online petition urging Wal-Mart to find an alternate location for its planned Supercenter.
- The National Trust is communicating directly with Wal-Mart corporate executives to ask for the relocation of the planned Supercenter, as well as with adjacent landowners who are preparing to intensively develop their property as a result.
- The National Trust and the National Park Service testified before the Vermont Legislature as they considered and ultimately passed a resolution asking Virginia officials to protect the historic battlefield because of its national significance.
- Along with the Wilderness Battlefield Coalition, the National Trust has offered to pay for a land-use planning study that would balance preservation of this irreplaceable historic site with sustainable economic development.
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